If you are pondering the possibility of undergoing a blepharoplasty, you will get basic information about the procedure, such as when it is indicated, how it is carried out and what results to expect. However, it is unlikely that you to get answers to all your questions, as they mostly depend both on personal factors and the preferences of the plastic surgeon. Should you have any doubt, talk to your plastic surgeon.
Eyelid surgery is brief, with a short postoperative period and long-lasting results. This procedure can be carried out alone or together with other aesthetic procedures used to get rid of facial wrinkles or sagginess.
The ideal candidates to undergo a blepharoplasty are those people who wish an improvement, not absolute perfection, in their appearance. A good candidate must have good health, psychological stability and must be realistic about their goals. In general, patients are about 35 or older, and sometimes younger patients with a family proneness to having eye bags. A blepharoplasty will improve your appearance and self-confidence, but it will not make you look like somebody else nor will it make people treat you in a different way. Before undergoing a blepharoplasty, you consider your goals and discuss them with your plastic surgeon.
There are some medical conditions that may increase the risks when undergoing a blepharoplasty, such as thyroids problems, high blood pressure, cardiovascular conditions or diabetes. Glaucoma and retinal detachment can also be a risk; in some cases, prior to the blepharoplasty, an ophthalmological check-up might be required.
Good communication between you and your surgeon is essential. In your first appointment, your sight and tear production will be tested, as well as your general health. You must inform your surgeon if you take any medication, smoke or are allergic to any medicine. You must also let them know if you wear glasses or contact lenses and, if possible, provide your latest eye test. The possibility of operating on the four eyelids or rather only the lower ones or the upper ones will be discussed as well as the necessity of combining the surgery with other procedures. You will be informed of the techniques and anaesthetics that will be used, as well as where the surgery will take place, the risks and the cost of the procedure. The procedures covered by the National Health Services do not include aesthetic blepharoplasty. Do not hesitate to ask your surgeon all your questions, especially those that have to do with your expectations and the results.
Your plastic surgeon will provide you with specific instructions about how to prepare yourself for the surgery, including instructions about your food and liquid intake, smoking or the intake or suppression of some medication and vitamins, and as well about facial cleansing. It is important to give up smoking at least for one or two weeks before the surgery. Following conscientiously these instructions will help carry out the procedure in better conditions. Besides this, make sure a relative or a chaperon can take you home once you are discharged and somebody can, if needed, help you out for a few days.
A blepharoplasty is carried out in an operating room in a clinic or hospital. Normally, you will not need to stay in the clinic for longer than a few hours after the surgery.
It is usually carried out under local anaesthetics together with sedation, and less frequently, under general anaesthetics, depending on your surgeon’s choice. When carried out under local anaesthetics with sedation, the patient feels relaxed and the eyelids are numb to pain; with general anaesthetics the patient is asleep during the procedure.
The procedure normally lasts between 1 and 3 hours, sometimes longer if associated to other procedures. If the four eyelids are to be operated on, it is customary to begin with the upper ones. Most of the times the incisions are made in the natural skin fold of the upper eyelids and just below the lashes in the lower eyelids; in some cases they might be extended as far as to the crow’s feet. Through these incisions, the skin is separated of the underlying fat and muscle and then excess fat, and in some cases excess skin or muscle, is removed. The incisions are closed up with very fine stitches.
In the cases of young patients in which there is only excess fat, a transconjunctival blepharoplasty can be carried out on the lower eyelids; the incision is then made inside the lower eyelid and leaves no visible scar.
After the surgery, an ointment will be applied to your eyes in order to lubricate them and, in some cases, a loose bandage. You may feel some discomfort on your eyelids; if that were so, it can be easily relieved with the medication prescribed by your surgeon (if you felt severe or persistent pain, you should inform your surgeon). You will need to keep your head elevated for a few days after the surgery and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling and bruising. You will be instructed on how to clean your eyes and you will be told if you need to use ophthalmological eye drops to keep your eyes hydrated. During the first weeks you may experience excessive tearing, hypersensitivity to light and temporary changes in your visual acuity, like blurred or double vision. For the first two weeks, the plastic surgeon will follow up your evolution in detail. The stitches are removed within 2 days and a week after the surgery. The oedema and the bruising will gradually vanish until completely disappearing and you will soon start to look and feel much better.
Most of the patients who undergo a blepharoplasty resume reading and watching television within 2 or 3 days. However, if you normally wear contact lenses, you will not be able to do so for two weeks after the surgery, and you may even feel some feel some discomfort for a time. Normally patients are ready to go back to work after a week or ten days; by then, you will be able to use make up to mask the bruising. You may need to wear sunglasses for a few weeks and put on sun block on your eyelids. You must rest relatively for 3 to 5 days and avoid strenuous activity for 3 weeks.
When this procedure is carried out by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are minor and rare. There is always, nonetheless, the possibility of a complication, such as an infection or and anaesthetic reaction. Following carefully the instructions of your plastic surgeon, both before and after the surgery, can minimize risks. The minor complications that can appear after a blepharoplasty include double or blurred vision, temporary oedema of the eyelids and mild asymmetries in the scarring. After the surgery you may as well have some difficulty in completely closing your eyes during sleep; only in some rare cases will this complication be permanent. Another rare complication is ectropion, which may require surgical correction.
The scarring will look pinkish for the first months. It will gradually tone down until becoming an almost invisible fine line. The results of the blepharoplasty, that is, a younger and more alert appearance, last for years; in many cases they are permanent.
– Information obtained from www.secpre.org